Affordable Living in Costa Rica | Furnished Container Home

Affordable Living in Costa Rica | Furnished Container Home

Are you looking for a furnished apartment in Costa Rica? Find out how to live comfortably and affordably here by renting a container home.

We moved to Costa Rica in August of this year. When we chose our destination, we weren’t aware of the large American and Canadian communities that work remotely from Uvita.

This is a more typical ex-pat destination for people who choose this lifestyle than other parts of the country. Uvitians will also describe their community as a tourist town.

Before moving abroad, we signed a month-to-month lease on a container home sight unseen. What is a container home? Well, it’s exactly as it sounds like.

Container homes are made from retired shipping containers, and they are constructed together like building a house with giant Lego blocks. Besides being trendy, these types of homes contributing to recycling and very economical at the same time.

Today, I’m going to walk you through the container home that we moved into in Costa Rica

Container Home Compound

From the street side, you’ll see this little container home compound. There are three colorful units there. Two units are butting up end on end. It shares a courtyard with the other units, with a garden running down the center.

Affordable Living in Costa Rica

The unit closest to the street is a sunset orange color. Behind that unit is a lime green home, and then across the courtyard, there’s a sky blue one.

Our container home is the green one. Each home also has sunscreens or awnings over each roof to shed water and keep it cool.

The Laundry Facility 

All three units share a common laundry facility, and each tenant is assigned two days when they can do laundry. You’ll find a washing machine and washtub inside but no mechanical dryer.

Instead, they have four clotheslines strung across the inside length of the 10-meter long open-air laundry facility. Right now, we’re in the rainy season. It rains almost every day, so it’s nice to have the space and clothesline inside this unit to dry our clothes.

The Kitchen Setup

Walking just 4 meters through the courtyard and up a couple of steps onto a small wooded deck, we enter our Kitchen/Living area through a sliding glass door. The apartment came fully furnished with pretty much everything we needed to live comfortably.

The kitchen was ready for cooking with a microwave, under-the-counter mini-fridge, two eye induction cooktop, dishes, and cookware. It even had a wine bottle opener, something many furnished apartments forget to include.


The induction cooktop is pretty sweet. It heats up fast and can boil a full pot of water in under 60 seconds. Induction cooking uses an electric current to heat iron or steel pots and pans through magnetic induction.

On the wall parallel to the kitchen counter, a large window looks out to the courtyards flowerbed. Next to that window is the sliding glass door.

I have noticed here in Costa Rica that most exterior doors have Double Cylinder Deadbolts, which is a lock that’s has a keyed cylinder on both the inside and the outside. Which is not something you would typically have in the States and can be a fire hazard if that lock is on the primary exit.

Bedroom One

The guest bedroom came furnished with a full-sized bed, soft linens, and a mini-split air-conditioning unit. It is mounted on the wall above the head of the bed.

Right now, I’ve been using this bedroom as my office working primarily on my laptop spread outcrossed the bed with my back propped up against the wall.

We also decided to store all our luggage here. Jas and I moved down to Costa Rica with 13 suitcases, and they all fit in this small room one way or another.

Master’s Bedroom 

The master bedroom is located on the far end of the house and is slightly larger than the other bedroom. In addition to a full-sized bed, linens, air-conditioning unit, it has a small credenza where we can store some of our personal items. Additionally, there is a walk-in closet off the original perimeter of the shipping container.


Having two mini-splits air-conditioning in such a small apartment is a bit overkill, in my opinion. We can more than stay comfortable using just one, but if we ever want to drop the temperature in the house fast, we can do it.


Like the master closet, the bathroom was added onto the shipping container’s perimeter as a bump-out. The bathroom has a nice-sized corner shower, toilet, trash can, and small vanity.

The shower is equipped with a device known to ex-pacts as a “suicide shower.” It’s basically a tea-kettle-shaped showerhead with a 50 amp instant water heater built-in.

Why do they call it a suicide shower? I can only imagine it has something to do with the live electrical wires running from the showerhead into the wall right over your head.

suicide shower container home

Something about standing naked, wet, and barefoot in the shower with electrical wires in arms reach doesn’t sit right with me as a home builder. So, for now, we will just remain conscious of the electrical current so close to us while we shower and be sure not to come in contact with it.

The mirror placement over the vanity mirror cracks me up. Standing directly in front of it, I can not see my face, just the reflection of my sunburned neck with my Adam’s apple staring straight back at me.

Another thing most people probably aren’t savvy to is why there is always a trash can next to every toilet in Costa Rica. Well, it’s because they don’t want you to flush toilet paper here.

Why? Well, I was told by another ex-pat that it’s for environmental reasons. That may be partly true, but I have noticed the plumbing here does not meet U.S. standards.

For example, the sanitary lines that connect the toilets to the drains in the States are 3-1/2″ to 4″ pipes. However, I’ve noticed here a 2″ pipe is sometimes used for the main drain line. A 2″ drain is not large enough to flush toilet paper and will eventually clog if you do.

Another thing I noticed about the plumbing, at least in this place, they don’t use P-traps or drain vents. P-traps catch debris that has drained from the sink and prevent clogs from forming further down the line. This device also holds water in place to create a vapor lock which stops septic gases from entering the home through the drains.

p traps container home

Because the drains in the house don’t have P-traps, we just put a cover over the drains, which seems to block the odor.

Because the drains do not have an air vent attached to them, the sinks drain a bit slow and will gurgle as air escapes from the drain lines.

Overall Experience

The plumbing annoyances are the only issue we’re having in our home. The overall size is perfect for those who travel light. We have a 20-foot shipping container full of all our personal items arriving from the States sometime next month. Because of this, we will be looking for something bit larger to fit us and all of our stuff.

We’re paying $350 a month for rent here, which is great. That includes the internet and water supply. We pay an additional $100/month for unlimited electricity, which is expensive compared to the states, but electricity costs more here.

The location is great! We can walk to many good restaurants, grocery stores, a bank, a pharmacy, and farmers’ markets within 5 minutes. There is an awesome waterfall on the Uvita rive and a bamboo forest just a 20-minute walk away. And a beautiful sandy beach is a quick 5 min drive.

I definitely recommend this place for anyone coming to visit Uvita and looking for an affordable Airbnb.

Affordable Living in Costa Rica | Furnished Container Home

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